There’s nothing like a whitewater rafting or jet boat trip to leave you breathless, soaked to the bone and pumped full of adrenaline. Then there’s the kind of boat trip that takes it down a notch — from wild to mild, but every bit just as sensational.
Here are a handful of guided boat trips to check out this summer that will let you delight in Oregon’s pristine waterways at a soothing pace, perhaps with a frosty beverage in hand.
Wherever you go, remember to enjoy the water safely: wear a lifejacket at all times, follow boat rules, stay with the group and know your limits.
Rogue River, Southern Oregon
The Paddled Pub, a tour company based in Grants Pass, takes you seven miles down the scenic Rogue River on a 20-foot custom raft designed for relaxation. Hop in, kick back and soak up the views while a guide steers from the back. Before boarding, the trip stops at Climate City Brewing Company in a historic building in Grants Pass. You can buy a crowler (a 32-ounce, machine-sealed can of freshly tapped beer) of Yellow Belly Blonde or Hyperion Porter to enjoy aboard, with snacks provided.
Cascade Lakes, Central Oregon
Maybe a canoe is more your style? Wanderlust Tours’ Brews & Views Canoe Tour lets you explore some of the best spots on the Cascade Lakes, some of which are accessible only by paddling into the fingers, coves, bays and wetlands. Spend two hours on this pristine mountain lake, paddling around or popping in for a refreshing dip. Your naturalist guide will bring a cooler of craft beers from Cascade Lakes Brewing Company, one of more than two dozen stops along the Bend Ale Trail.
Willamette River, Willamette Valley
You’ll get a good workout on the Paddle and Brew River Tour from Cascadia Expeditions in Corvallis, which takes you by kayak down the Willamette River to one of the city’s three fabulous craft breweries — Mazama Brewing, Block 15 Brewing Company or Sky High Brewing — with a few stops along the way for beer pairings with meat and cheese plates. Your guide will talk about the ecology of the watershed, which teems with wildlife like bald eagles, herons, river otters and beaver. Paddlers are encouraged to dive in for a swim.
McKenzie River, Willamette Valley
If fishing floats your boat — but not without assistance — you might like the Sip ’N Float summer package from a local fishing guide. Bring your favorite beverage to stow in the cooler on board and try your hand at catching salmon, trout or steelhead. Discounts are available if you bring a bottle from a partnering winery. Or just sink into the red loveseat and indulge in the lazy afternoon. You’ll be hard-pressed to have a more relaxing day all summer.
Willamette River, Portland Region
They say it’s the most “Portland” thing you can do: sip a craft beer while powering your own paddle boat along the Willamette River. The BrewBarge — brought to you by the same people behind Portland’s popular BrewCycle tour (now with five routes) — is the epitome of active relaxation. You’ll get to enjoy your beverages at the high bar with 13 of your closest friends while keeping your feet busy, peddling the boat at a speed of 5 miles per hour under some of the city’s majestic downtown bridges. There’s plenty of opportunity to take a rest and soak up the spectacular urban landscape all around.